CANBERRA, AAP – Retail bosses can begin or accelerate their cuts to emissions under a plan developed by Australia’s largest peak retail body.
The Australian Retailers Association road map released on Tuesday sets targets for suppliers, shoppers and landfill in 2030, 2040 and 2050.
Climate change is the “next big disrupter” for retail, chief executive Paul Zahra said.
“With the transition to net-zero, it is no longer ‘if’ but ‘when and how’ we can achieve our goals and it’s clear that business has a critical role to play alongside governments in driving the change we need to see,” he said.
“While we don’t yet have all the answers, the ARA’s roadmap is designed to make it easier.”
The ambition is for the whole retail value chain, from suppliers to shops and eventually the dump, to have net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Practical methods in the years ahead include building and operating energy efficient stores, warehouses and offices with low emissions.
The first big milestone is net zero emissions from electricity consumption, with all sites to be powered by 100 per cent renewables by 2030 under the plan.
It has a 2040 ambition for net zero emissions from vehicle fuel, gas for cooking and heating, and coolant gas for refrigeration.
Another stream of work is sourcing products and raw materials in ways that minimises impacts on the environment and natural resources.
Embracing the “circular economy” by working with suppliers to produce more with less, and supporting consumers in the transition to more sustainable consumption is also part of the future.
“There is no doubt that the transition to net-zero emissions will be complex and challenging,” Mr Zahra said.
“But, with less than 5 per cent of large retailers globally having made commitments to address climate change, it’s important that we remove the barriers to retailers taking action and use the scale of our sector to drive meaningful change.”
The road map will be reviewed and updated each year as technologies and government requirements evolve.